Learning Not To Judge By Voices Alone

December 31st, 2017, just before the new year, I was told I have auditory hallucinations. What this means, for me, is that I hear voices in my head almost constantly. They tell me things like “You’re weak,” “You’re ugly,” “You act like a little girl. It’s no wonder people don’t take you seriously” and so on. This particular discovery was especially hard for me to come to grips with for obvious reasons. “People are gonna think I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy.” The most harrowing aspect of the experience was a memory I had when I was about twelve-years-old.

I was on a camping trip with my church and I … continue

Who Is Your Inspiration?

Who is your inspiration? Who is your idol?” one of my university lecturers asked us during my Masters studies at a Dutch Design School. She was hinting at famous designers, celebrities or architects. “My grandmother” I replied. “Your grandmother? Really? Why do you say your grandmother?” “Because she is a strong woman, and she is the glue of the family. She has survived cancer numerous times despite doctors predicting she’d have ‘a few months to live’, she is a true fighter and has a great sense of humour. She is like a second mother to me, but more importantly we are great friends”. My grandmother taught me that age is continue

The Second Chance

About two years ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer. For the third time. My mother is a strong woman but dealing with cancer again and facing a chemotherapy weighed heavily on her. I was with her when the doctor told her the news a couple of days before Christmas. I almost couldn’t bear the feeling of not being able to help her to get rid of this terrible disease. But of course I knew that I could at least be there for her. From the moment we sat together in front of the doctor my relationship to my mother changed significantly. Since I live abroad I reorganized my whole … continue

We do not own our children

They were born in a private Athens clinic in Greece when, at 39 and pregnant, I moved from NYC .There, doctors referred to them as ‘Twin A’ and ‘ Twin B’ on prenatal scans. I soon adopted Alpha and Beta as my unborn babies’ names. August 1st was extremely early for their delivery, but they wouldn’t wait ! Beta, my bright orange- haired daughter, perfectly formed, died as my husband and I dropped tears onto her incubator and spoke of the great love we had for her. A short life; 48 hours only. Alpha, my son, was transferred across to Pedon Childrens’ Hospital where he lived bravely for more than … continue

Progressive parenting?

We have a little white cardboard box at home marked: Box of bad memories. Do not often open.
Everyone knows where it is, approximately. It is not hidden away or locked up against prying eyes. Occasionally it becomes buried under housed debris; sometimes it disappears, only to be rediscovered with a new entry written inside. Anyone can use it, no questions asked.
My Mum was brought up in a large, hard Scots households, where expressing emotions or expecting empathy was seen as a sure sign of weakness of character and firmly discouraged. To her credit she was determined that the next generation be permitted such luxuries, till overwhelmed, the drawbridge … continue

Breaking the vicious circle

I was born in a slum area of Mumbai. I can’t remember having a best friend and till I was 12, I did not really know what a birthday celebration was. My dream was to finish school but the odds were not in my favor. In my slum area, there is no supportive environment for girls’ education. No one to inspire or guide us. So most of us drop out. I was no exception.
In 10th grade I failed my exams and had to quit school. My failure was taken as an evidence that girls should not be educated. I had no choice but so start working in order to … continue

Songs to save planet Earth

Hi. Guess what? I’m Bipolar. So far I’ve had two jaunts in the psych ward, the second more harrowing than the first. I hope I never have to go back again. I think I have the right combination of meds this second time around. Living with Bipolar means a constant nagging paranoia in conjunction with a bit of a messianic complex which I am to understand is “normal.” Other than that I’m peachy.

Like everyone else, sleep is vital to my well-being. I used to be a night owl party girl who lived to burn the midnight oil, but now I’m in bed by 9. Every night I wake up … continue

The Christmas Card

December 1995, Greece. As I looked out my kitchen window at the green groves of olive trees, I had an aching homesickness for a different picture of winter. I wanted to be in the Vermont Life calendar photo on my wall, breathing in the cold air outside a tiny wooden post office, its roof covered in fresh, deep snow and a red ribboned wreath on the wall frozen with icicles. Above the door was a small sign:

POST OFFICE. PLYMOUTH. Vt. 05056.

On an impulse I decided to write a Christmas card to the people who worked there. It lifted my spirits to do so, might lift theirs too and … continue

Fascinating Age

I do not believe in fate. But instinct told me not to return to a safe life in the UK after just 4 years in Greece, a month after my husband’s unexpected death.
I’d no job, no income, just a tiny widow’s pension; I’d a rented, picturesque old flat with few conveniences, but the best view in the world, the Acropolis; advice and support of family, friends and neighbours, the Greek social welfare system in action. “As long as I have a bowl of soup, so do you” said my brother in law.
There was no sudden revelation or turning point back in late 80s as I carefully put on … continue

Here is my SCREAM

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Even though my illness was discovered just in time, no words can describe the emotional, psychological, monetary, social, and physical challenges that the news brought me. I faced a very agonizing process overcoming it, and a difficult post-surgery recovery. I became a very dark person and from this experience, I became somewhat of a hermit.
I used writing to journal about my fears, doubts, angers, and stresses to alleviate my pain. One day I was reading through my notes, and I realized the power of my own writing. I had finally discovered my inner voice. I thought that if journaling … continue

Laurel

“Maybe after Christmas,” I replied, worried he couldn’t afford this long distance call from London.
“No, come now. I need you. You’ll see, we will look back on this as one of the best periods of our lives.”
I had great misgivings. There’d been a passionate affair in Athens but no future– better just cherish the memory of the handsome charming fellow who had challenged my thinking, made me laugh, made me feel precious. I should be realistic, stay in Chicago after traipsing abound Europe with a friend, and return to high school teaching, even if it meant barren spinsterhood. And breaking codes of behavior, living with him in prim … continue

To share is to be human

When I was 19, I drove across USA with my best friend Julie for just $30. We took what’s known as an auto drive-away, a form of car sharing – where you transport someone else’s car and just pay for the gas. We drove through the Grand Canyon singing, we saw coyotes and Joshua trees – the shared experience was unforgettable. What made this trip so special for me was that it was a journey of trust and sharing. We trusted that the car would make it, we trusted the guy who would join us on the road and we trusted each other. For me, trust and sharing come together. … continue